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Darryl O’Young: ‘Fantastic season overall’

Darryl O’Young had a busy 2012 racing season, as he competed in the FIA World Touring Car Championship alongside the FIA GT1 World Championship.

Taking time to speak with, the Hong Kong racer looks back over his 2012 campaign, both in the WTCC and the GT1 World Championship.

O’Young has one main highlight from the 2012 WTCC campaign, which was a tough one for him with a lot of back luck throughout the season.

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“My highlight of the 2012 campaign was the Macau Grand Prix,” explains O’Young. “It was my only highlight of the season. It is my home race and to race in front of the Hong Kong fans was brilliant.

“I matched the amount of points I scored all season in two races with a double win in the Independents. This was for the team after all of their hard work to fix the car after I crashed at Mandarin during practice.”

During the 2012 campaign, O’Young switched teams. He started off in the Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon before returning to the bamboo engineering Chevrolet Cruze for the final three rounds of the season.

“I had a lot of back luck with Special Tuning Racing, starting with the fire at Monza,” O’Young continued. “They are a hard working team and I had the option of staying with them.

“It was a sponsor decision for me to switch teams and the return to bamboo engineering made it easier for me as I knew the team and the cars.”

As well as racing a front wheel drive touring car, O’Young also raced a Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 in the FIA GT1 World Championship. O’Young doesn’t feel that it helped or hindered either Championship, as he explains: “I’m a firm believer of racing different cars. It is hard to get up to speed in a touring car. I share the same philosophy as Tom Coronel; to race as much as possible. It has been an amazing season.”

The 2012 WTCC saw four new circuits made their debut in the series; Slovakiaring, Salzburg ring, Sonoma and the Shanghai International Circuit. For Slovakia, Austria and the USA, it marked their maiden appearance in the WTCC.

For O’Young, one circuit in particular stood out as one he enjoyed the most: “That’s a tough one. Sonoma was the most enjoyable as I grew up racing single seaters in the US, so it was great to go back.

“Sonoma is just a great circuit with the elevation changes and the tight, twisty stuff through the esses. It is back for 2013, as this season was the first year in a 3 year deal.”

The WTCC and GT1 calendars both had visits to the Slovakiaring and Portimao in Portugal. The visit of the WTCC to both of the circuits took place before the GT1’s made their trip there.

“Yes and no,” explained O’Young when asked whether his races in the WTCC helped him when he revisited the circuits in the GT1 World Championship.

“It was two different scenarios, as the WTCC marked my first time at Slovakiaring so it helped me as I learnt the track. Portimao, I had raced at before and the speed difference between the WTCC and the GT1’s meant that some corners, I was trying to take at top speed and I was running wide while others I wasn’t taking enough speed through them.”

Looking back over his duel campaign, where O’Young raced in 25 weekends throughout the 2012 campaign, the 33 year old racer can sums his season up as a positive season.

“Overall, it’s been a fantastic season,” he adds. “I’ve competed in 25 race weekends, with a victory in the Bathurst 12 hour race. It’s been a positive season.

“The WTCC could have been better as I got damage every weekend, so to finish on a positive at Macau with a double Independents’ victory was pleasing.

“I drove with Peter Kox in the GT1’s and I learnt a lot from him. I’m just thankful to my sponsors for the opportunity to race.”

Looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, O’Young doesn’t want to compete in two World Championships in 2013.

“I’m hoping to return to the WTCC in 2013,” he explains. “You learn how to set up a car to suit you over a weekend so that you can be quick. The WTCC is a strong platform, with the Asian races as well as the overall driver level.

“The GT1’s has gone so I am unsure what is happening there. I’ve been confirmed to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series as well as the Dubai 24hr in an Aston Martin plus the Daytona 24hr in a Porsche. It will be my fourth appearance at the Daytona 24hr.

“The WTCC plus Asian races will be better for me next season,” confirms O’Young.

The Hong Kong racer also confirms that he would like to race in the British Touring Car Championship one day: “I would love to race in the BTCC; I have been watching it since I was a kid.

“With my sponsors as it stands, it doesn’t make sense to do a national series as they would prefer an International campaign,” concludes O’Young.

The 2013 World Touring car Championship gets underway in Spain, at a yet to be confirmed venue on the 10th March, while the Dubai 24hr race takes place over the 10/11/12 January while the Daytona 24hrs takes place over the 26/27 January.

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